The State of Florida Issues Hurricane Sally Updates 09/18/20

9/18/2020

The State of Florida Issues Hurricane Sally Updates 09/18/20

Governor Ron DeSantis remains in constant communication with Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM) Director Jared Moskowitz and local officials as the State of Florida continues to monitor and respond to the impacts from Hurricane Sally.

Today, Governor DeSantis sent a letter to President Donald Trump formally requesting an expedited Major Disaster declaration as Florida responds to Hurricane Sally impacts. The letter requested all programs under Individual Assistance and all categories of Public Assistance for the incident period beginning September 14, 2020.

The letter requests the declaration for Bay, Calhoun, Escambia, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson, Liberty, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, Walton and Washington counties.

The letter is available to view here.

Today, during a press conference at Weeki Wachee Springs State Park, Governor DeSantis provided an update on Florida’s ongoing Hurricane Sally response efforts. Governor DeSantis encouraged residents in flooded areas to stay vigilant, avoid standing water and monitor local weather reports for updates. The press conference is available here

Recent actions the state has taken to respond to Hurricane Sally:

  • The Division is leading the Florida State Emergency Response Team in responding to Hurricane Sally.
  • The Division is coordinating with Florida Power and Light and Gulf Power to provide assistance for power restoration efforts. So far, utility crews have restored power to more than 120,000 homes, which represents 45% of individuals impacted by Hurricane Sally power outages.
  • The Division has deployed 25 mitigation and recovery specialists to conduct damage assessment in impacted counties. These assessments will help counties document the full damage of Hurricane Sally and will expedite available federal assistance for disaster recovery.
  • The Division is opening two Points of Distribution to provide food, water and ice to Floridians impacted by Hurricane Sally.
  • The Division continues to coordinate with Florida Highway Patrol to provide escorts for utility crews and fuel trucks. More than 50 escorts have been coordinated for fuel trucks that have delivered 450,000 gallons of fuel to the area.
  • The Division has deployed 50 trucks with light towers to support power restoration efforts and traffic movement through overnight hours.
  • The Division has deployed 972,000 bottles of water and 179,000 meals to provide critical relief to Floridians impacted by Hurricane Sally.
  • The Division has deployed more than 200 generators and 100 pumps into impacted areas to assist with power outages and flooding.
  • The Division is hosting twice daily calls with all counties to address any unmet needs.
  • The Division has closed state-supported COVID-19 testing sites in Escambia and Okaloosa counties due to impacts from Hurricane Sally. Testing site re-openings will be announced via the Division’s social media channels.
  • More information regarding the Division’s response is available here.

FLORIDA AGENCY FOR HEALTH CARE ADMINISTRATION

  • The Agency for Health Care Administration is communicating with licensed health care facilities in Escambia, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa and Walton counties to ensure they have necessary resources and adequate power.
  • Agency staff are beginning onsite post assessment visits at facilities in impacted areas.
  • The Agency is utilizing the Emergency Status System, currently open for COVID-19, to track the impacts of Hurricane Sally on affected providers.
  • The Agency is holding regional calls with providers to discuss impacts of the storm.
  • More information on the Agency’s response is available here.

AGENCY FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES

  • The Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD) issued a Curfew Letter to providers so they can continue to deliver services to APD customers in areas impacted by Hurricane Sally.
  • APD continues to reach out to group homes in the counties impacted by the storm to confirm all the necessary steps have been taken to ensure the health and safety of APD customers and address any unmet needs. 
  • APD Waiver Support Coordinators and providers are in contact with individuals in independent living to ensure proper safety measures are being taken. 
  • Hawkins Park in Santa Rosa County has been closed and Billy Joe Rish Park in Gulf County remains closed due to the storm and subsequent flooding. 
  • More information on APD’s response is available here.

FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN AND FAMILIES

  • The Department of Children and Families’ (DCF) Northwest Region continues to coordinate with the local system of care to ensure client services are not interrupted.
  • The community-based-care lead agency in the affected area, Families First Network, continues to work with foster parents and group homes to identify and help fill needs presented by the storm.
  • DCF staff are assessing damages at regional facilities and addressing them appropriately.
  • More information on DCF’s response is available here.

FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS

  • The Florida Department of Corrections (FDC) continues to monitor the aftereffects of Hurricane Sally and take proactive steps to ensure public safety and make sure all individuals entrusted to our custody are safe and secure as Florida responds to the storm.
  • Offenders on community supervision have been given specific instructions from their probation officers regarding office closures. Probation offices remain closed in Escambia, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa and Walton counties.
  • Public safety and the safety of staff and inmates under Department supervision are the highest priorities for the agency. FDC’s emergency operations center is operating 24-hours a day and keeping in constant contact with the state EOC and every facility statewide.
  • All inmates housed in facilities impacted by Hurricane Sally are safe, secure and have ample food and water supplies.
  • All institutions have back-up power generators in the event commercial power is lost.
  • All correctional officers and institutional staff are considered essential staff and work throughout the duration of the storm.
  • Individuals are encouraged to visit the Department website or social media channels prior to contacting individual institutions. Frequent updates regarding visitation and office closures will be posted on Facebook, Twitter and www.dc.state.fl.us.
  • More information on FDC’s response is available here.

FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY

  • The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) and State Emergency Response Team have activated the Business Damage Assessment Survey in response to Hurricane Sally. The program will gather information through the survey from businesses affected by Hurricane Sally and share the results with various local, state and federal agencies to implement appropriate disaster relief programs. To access the business survey, please click HERE and select “Hurricane Sally” from the drop-down menu. 
  • DEO is preparing to deploy potential disaster resources as needed in response to Hurricane Sally’s impacts.
  • DEO is also coordinating with state and local partners to determine proactive action, updates or unmet needs from the private sector.
  • More information on DEO’s response is available here.

FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

  • The Florida Department of Education (DOE) Commissioner Corcoran and DOE senior leadership team members spoke with school district superintendents in impacted areas and urged them to focus on response and recovery efforts.
  • DOE is working with each district impacted by Sally to determine an appropriate plan for lost instructional hours and days.
  • DOE leadership for K-12 schools, early learning, technical colleges and state colleges remain in constant contact with impacted counties’ educational leadership, determining best courses of action for continuity of educational services.
  • DOE leadership in Vocational Rehabilitation and Blind Services have guided offices in impacted areas on communicating to clients, so that services can be most effectively continued during and post recovery.
  • DOE is working closely with school districts impacted by Hurricane Sally to ensure they have the resources necessary to resume normal operations as quickly as possible. 
  • DOE has posted school closures due to Hurricane Sally here.
  • More information on DOE’s response is available here.

FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF ELDER AFFAIRS

  • The Comprehensive Assessment and Review for Long-Term Care Services (CARES) Field Office serving Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa and Walton county remains closed at this time, as other CARES Field Offices within the region are assisting with services.
  • The Florida Department of Elder Affairs (DOEA) is working with the USDA’s Southeastern Regional Office and submitting daily reports on the status of providers who participate in the Adult Care Food Program.
  • DOEA is communicating with our Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) in the affected areas and in nearby regions to ensure local systems of care remain available.
  • Advantage Aging Solutions in Leon County remains operational and is taking Elder Helpline calls for Bay, Calhoun, Franklin, Jackson, Holmes and Washington Counties.
  • The Northwest Florida Area Agency on Aging, covering Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, and Walton Counties, has transferred all their Elder Helpline calls to Elder Options located in North Central Florida. The Elder helpline number remains the same: 1-800-963-5337.
  • DOEA’s Disaster Resource Guide may be accessed in English (2020 DOEA Disaster Guide English) and accessed in Spanish (2020 DOEA Disaster Guide Spanish).
  • More information on DOEA’s response is available here.

FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION

  • The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has issued Emergency Orders which authorize repairs, replacement, restoration and other measures made necessary by Hurricane Sally.
  • DEP is performing post-storm assessments of beaches in Northwest Florida to support permitting programs. The assessments will identify erosion conditions and storm-related impacts to upland development.
  • For visitor safety, 18 state parks remain closed due to Hurricane Sally. As of today, four state parks have reopened. Closures are available on DEP’s website
  • DEP’s Hazardous Assessment Response Team is on standby to respond to any impacts from Hurricane Sally.
  • More information on DEP’s response is available here.

FLORIDA OFFICE OF FINANCIAL REGULATION

  • The Florida Office of Financial Regulation has issued proclamations to Florida state-chartered financial institutions and securities professionals regarding Hurricane Sally. The OFR Division of Financial Institutions Proclamation is available here and the OFR Division of Securities Proclamation is available here.
  • More information on OFR’s response is available here.

FLORIDA FISH AND WILDLIFE CONSERVATION COMMISSION

  • The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) personnel have completed more than 25 rescue operations using shallow draft vessels in Escambia, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa and Walton counties. FWC continued search and rescue operations today.
  • FWC has identified more than 50 sworn personnel that are responding in support of search and rescue operations, evacuations and security needs.
  • Two 11 member FWC Special Operations Teams are providing shallow water capability and force protection swift water incident response teams to areas impacted by Hurricane Sally.
  • FWC law enforcement officers have secured shallow draft vessels, ATVs and four-wheel drive trucks to be used if necessary.
  • More information on FWC’s response is available here.

FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH

  • The Florida Department of Health (DOH) has staged 41 ambulances and two ambu-buses to support 911 augmentation, health care facilities augmentation and community paramedicine missions.
  • DOH is coordinating with the Agency for Health Care Administration to monitor health care facilities in impacted areas to ensure patient safety and ability to sustain services.
  • DOH is providing public health messaging on flood water safety, carbon monoxide safety, food safety and after storm precautions.
  • DOH is mobilizing environmental health teams for post-flooding environmental health assessments.
  • DOH has issued seven boil water notices for select neighborhoods in Bay, Escambia, Okaloosa and Santa Rosa counties. The notices are available here.
  • DOH is supporting the evacuation of 82 residents from an assisted living facility in Santa Rosa county that lost power.
  • DOH is continuing to support sheltering operations for counties with open shelters.
  • More information on DOH’s response is available here.

FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF HIGHWAY SAFETY AND MOTOR VEHICLES

  • The Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) is conducting escort operations for utility crews and other direct support vehicles in and around road closures.
  • In response to Hurricane Sally, FHP has conducted more than 100 escorts to utility vehicles, fuel trucks, first responders and search and rescue crews. FHP is ensuring response resources are arriving as soon as possible to impacted areas and will continue to respond to escort needs as they are requested.
  • FHP has reopened Interstate 10 and US Highway 90 in both directions are the Shoal River near Crestview.
  • FLHSMV’s regional service center in Pensacola remains closed today, along with tax collector offices in Escambia, Santa Rosa and Walton counties.
  • FHP has deployed a mobile command center to Northwest Florida to provide enhanced communication capabilities and additional resources.
  • FHP has deployed 64 Quick Response Force (QRF) Troopers from Northeast and Central Florida to assist with evacuation and recovery efforts.
  • FHP Troopers throughout Northwest Florida remain on 12-hour Alpha/Bravo shifts, providing 24-hour enhanced coverage.
  • FHP is assisting with restricted traffic flow across the Garcon Point Bridge in Santa Rosa County.
  • FHP is in continuous communication with first responders and transportation partners to identify and assist with any unmet needs.
  • FLHSMV is waiving fees to replace titles, vehicle registration certificates and/or license plates lost or damaged as a result of the storm. Late fees and license reinstatement fees in those counties impacted by the storm have also been waived.
  • More information on FLHSMV’s response is available here.

FLORIDA OFFICE OF INSURANCE REGULATION

  • The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR) has issued a notice to all health insurers, maintenance organizations, and other health entities reminding them of Florida law providing for early prescription refills following the Governor’s emergency order for Hurricane Sally.
  • OIR has issued a catastrophe reporting notice to all applicable property and casualty insurers instituting a data call to collect claims and other relevant information as a result of Hurricane Sally.
  • Once it is safe to do so, consumers are encouraged to take photos and videos of any damages and losses to share with their insurer and contact their insurer or agent as soon as possible to begin the claims process.
  • More information on OIR’s response is available here.

FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF JUVENILE JUSTICE

  • Florida Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) is completing assessments of all facilities and is closely monitoring flooding that may impact. DJJ is taking proactive steps to ensure public safety and make sure all individuals entrusted in their custody are safe and secure as Florida continues to respond to the storm.
  • Public safety, and the safety of staff and juveniles under DJJ’s care, are the highest priorities for the agency. DJJ’s emergency management office is operating 24-hours a day and is in constant contact with the State EOC and all DJJ facilities.
  • All DJJ facilities and centers are on alert and monitoring weather advisories.
  • More information on DJJ’s response is available here.

FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF LAW ENFORCEMENT

  • Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) agents from Jacksonville are deployed in Santa Rosa County to send public safety assets to areas in need.
  • More than 150 state law enforcement officers have been deployed to impacted areas in Florida’s Panhandle.
  • The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE)’s is coordinating 25 law enforcement missions assisting local agencies after Hurricane Sally with search and rescue, patrols, traffic enforcement and escorts for fuel and power crews.
  • FDLE and other state law enforcement partners are working at the State EOC and with the FDLE Pensacola virtual Regional Law Enforcement Coordination team.
  • More information on FDLE’s response is available here.

FLORIDA LOTTERY

  • All Lottery offices remain closed to the public due to COVID-19. However, due to Hurricane Sally, the Florida Lottery’s Pensacola District Office is temporarily closed to employees as well.
  • The secured drop box located outside of the Pensacola District Office that players use to drop off winning tickets and claim forms is temporarily unavailable.
  • For a complete list of Florida Lottery office availability, players are encouraged to visit, http://flalottery.com/lotteryOffices.
  • More information on Florida Lottery’s response is available here.

FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF MANAGEMENT SERVICES

  • The Florida Department of Management Services (DMS) activated the emergency telecommunications provider group and continues to coordinate with all communications service providers to deploy communications resources to impacted areas to support the coordinated response effort.
  • DMS’ State Purchasing team continues to lead ESF 7, providing critical procurement and consultation support during the emergency.
  • DMS continues to encourage state employees in potential areas of impact to stay informed and follow the guidance of local and state officials.
  • More information on DMS’ response is available here.

FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF MILITARY AFFAIRS

  • The Florida National Guard has mobilized 409 Soldiers and Airmen to support post-landfall priorities including search and rescue, establishing communications with first responder and security assistance to law enforcement.
  • As of today, the Florida National Guard, in coordination with local first responders, have rescued and evacuated 198 Floridians from floodwaters.
  • The Florida National Guard has deployed four helicopters, six zodiac boats and 40 high-wheeled vehicles to assist with search and rescue operations.
  • More information on the Florida National Guard’s response is available here.

FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE

  • All Florida Department of Revenue offices remain closed to the public due to COVID-19. Additionally, the Department’s Crestview and Pensacola offices are temporarily closed to employees due to Hurricane Sally. Employees in Marianna and Panama City offices will return Friday, September 18.
  • Taxpayers and child support customers may continue accessing services through the Department’s eServices at floridarevenue.com/taxes/eservices and floridarevenue.com/childsupport/contact.
  • More information on the Department’s response is available here.

CAREERSOURCE FLORIDA

  • CareerSource Escarosa remains closed due to power outages from Sally. Updates the office re-opening will be available here.
  • More information on CareerSource Florida’s response is available here.

FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF STATE

  • The Florida Department of State (DOS) is communicating with Supervisor of Elections offices in Escambia, Franklin, Holmes, Jackson, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, Walton and Washington counties as they respond to impacts from Hurricane Sally. Ongoing updates will be provided as offices reopen.
  • More information on DOS’ response is available here.

FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

  • The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) has closed Pensacola Bay Bridge. The bridge has damage at various locations. Inspection of the bridge is ongoing, and more information will be released as soon as the assessment is complete.
  • FDOT has re-opened Garcon Point Bridge to two-axle vehicles only following an inspection of the bridge. Tolls on the bridge remain suspended until 6 a.m., Wednesday, September 23.
  • FDOT is coordinating with utility companies to support the power restoration efforts within the region.
  • FDOT continues to monitor rivers for any potential impact to the region’s transportation system.
  • FDOT has deployed 6 teams to Escambia, Walton, Santa Rosa and Okaloosa Counties to conduct cut and toss efforts and bridge inspections. These teams consist of more than 40 people that have equipment including dump trucks and chainsaws to help clear debris and inspect the transportation facilities and ensure they are safe.
  • FDOT is monitoring drainage in and around the state’s roadways to help ensure the safety of the traveling public.
  • FDOT is providing real-time traffic updates on FL511.com and on Twitter at @MyFDOT.
  • More information on FDOT’s response is available here.

FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS’ AFFAIRS 

  • The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs reports their VA Outpatient Clinics in Pensacola, Panama City and Eglin Air Force Base will remain closed due to Hurricane Sally and will reopen as road closures, flooding and power outages stabilize.
  • More information on FDVA’s response is available here.

VISIT FLORIDA

  • VISIT FLORIDA’S Official Florida Welcome Center located on I-10 near Pensacola has resumed normal operational hours.
  • More information on VISIT FLORIDA’s response is available here.

VOLUNTEER FLORIDA

  • Today, Governor Ron DeSantis activated the Florida Disaster Fund to support communities that have been impacted by Hurricane Sally. To make a contribution, please visit VolunteerFlorida.org or text DISASTER to 20222 to make a one-time donation of $10.
  • Crisis Cleanup has opened a Hurricane Sally Home Cleanup Hotline: 800-451-1954. More information can be found on crisiscleanup.org.
  • Volunteer Florida is working with partners and Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) to deploy resources to impacted areas.
  • One of the best ways that individuals can assist disaster survivors is by donating monetarily. During disasters, cash can be transported instantly and can be used to purchase essential supplies that are needed for both response and recovery activities. Goods donations (like food and clothing) can often be difficult to transport, store and distribute. Before donating, make sure that you confirm that there is a legitimate need and connect with reputable organizations when doing so.
  • For more information about how to connect with a disaster relief organization to volunteer, please visit volunteerflorida.org/hurricane-sally. Immediate assistance for affected areas is provided by first responders, government groups, disaster relief organizations and affiliated volunteers who have already trained to serve. Please do not self-deploy and always affiliate with a disaster relief organization before entering the affected area. 
  • More information on Volunteer Florida’s response is available here.
Updated: Friday, September 18, 2020
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